The Bush administration has become so panicked about its obvious failings in Iraq that it not only is sending out a repetitive, droning message from the top (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld), it now wants even mid-level bureaucrats at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to peddle the "rosy" picture it is trying to paint in Iraq, as reported by Al Kamen in the Washington Post (Monday, May 8).
How disturbing it must be for officials at USDA to receive email instructions requiring them to parrot administration jabberwocky on Iraq in every speech they give on behalf of the USDA. Repeat after me: "The President has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq." Say it over and over again, until you have it memorized, then repeat it out loud everywhere you go until your eyes glaze over. Spin is too mild a word for this kind of propaganda. This is Big Brother stuff. This stinks of lies, hoodwink and subterfuge.
The May 2 email came from "Heather," a speechwriter at USDA, and said: "The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq." Remember when it was just the War on Terror? Now it's GLOBAL. It's such an insider term now, they abbreviate it -- GWOT. Like WWII.
Not only are these people being asked to spout this garbage, they are asked to report on it. According to Kamen: Another attachment "contains specific examples of GWOT messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible and send Harry Phillips , USDA's director of speechwriting, a weekly email summarizing the event, date and location of each speech incorporating the attached language. Your responses will be included in a weekly account sent to the White House."
Not only is the administration asking for reports, it is recommending the following:
If it looks like the audience is with you, try to slip in the old Iraq/al-Qaeda/terrorism link and say Americans are helping build a country "that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists."
The Bush administration can't help itself. The "old Iraq/al-Qaeda/terrorism link," indeed.
Not only does all this bring to mind the rich undercurrent of Orwellian thinking and behavior in this Bush regime, but it also brings to mind that wonderful definition of insanity, namely, doing the same thing over and over again expecting the outcome to change.
Kamen ends his piece with:
Let's say you're talking about U.S. agricultural productivity. Try this: "I'd like to take a moment to talk about a nation that is just now beginning to rebuild its own agricultural production. "Iraq is part to the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia," the sample script says. "It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, there that agriculture was born. In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble." Probably want to pause here and give the audience a chance to catch its breath. It's hard to travel 10,500 years that quickly. "But revitalization is underway. President Bush has a clear strategy . . ."
Don't forget to send that weekly e-mail to Harry.